Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Buying a Bentley II

Me and my Bentley (not exactly as illustrated)
Well, I now have my Bentley, and a gorgeous beast of a car it is too. But I get ahead of myself.

The seller of the car (whose eBay username is Geeman22, but I will call him Geeman) turns out to be a really nice fellow. He was a little concerned at first that I had only one eBay transaction in my history but I explained to him that I was an eBay novice (or is it "noob"?) I let him know I was very serious and that he would get his money.

Geeman was very open and honest about the entire transaction. He insisted on telling me about every minor flaw with the car, while at the same time telling me what a great experience it is to drive. It was clear that he was really going to miss it. I almost felt guilty.

Yesterday, the day we agreed on delivery, I called him from the Island airport in Toronto and he said he would pick me up. He took me to the dealer he had taken the car to for a last-minute checkup and detailing. Turned out he ended up paying nearly $2,000 to get the front brakes done. He just didn't want me driving away with bad brakes. Then he introduced me to the service manager at the dealership and asked him to supply me with all the service records.

Geeman, you are a true gentleman and I hope our paths cross again.

The interior is a soothing and civilized place to spend time.

That's more like it!
Now, the car. From the outside from 6 feet away the car looks almost like new. Close up there are many tiny flaws that show that it has been driven, but the overall impression is one of stately but sporty elegance. The original British Racing Green paint, a very restrained use of chrome, except on the wheels. A classic shape. It's a big car, but not as big as I might have feared. The size of a Ford Crown Victoria police car, maybe. But with an elegance and presence that you just don't see every day, if ever.

Inside, my first impressions were of finding myself in a machine where the controls just don't work the way you expect. All the controls are there, but not where you expect them to be. the dash is a beautiful slab of burled walnut. All the interior surfaces are leather-covered. The seats are plush. All the gauges are round and serious -- old-style serious. All the controls are chromed metal. It feels like a high-end yacht. There is no plastic of any kind to be seen or touched.

On the road, the yacht analogy continued to be apt. The steering wheel is bigger than I am used to. In motion, the car is a constant reminder of certain laws of motion discovered by Sir Isaac Newton: the concepts of inertia and mass come to mind particularly. The car will change direction but not on a dime. It will accelerate and decelerate, but you never forget that you are moving more than 5,000 pounds of mass. The Rolls V8 is turbocharged, but it is a low-revving smooth engine, with a deep bass note from the outside. Inside it is almost as it if has a turbine in there rather than an internal combustion device.

On the highway, it is as smooth and comfortable as anything I have driven. Honestly, within half an hour it felt already smaller as my expectations for it came into harmony with its own personality. And personality it has in spades. The interior is like some upper class Brit's idea of a man-cave, all leather and wood. You almost feel you need a pipe or a cigar and a snifter of something special to really fit in. It is old-world, old-school. It doesn't feel like an artifact of the 1990's. It really feels much older in its conception, although there is nothing wrong with the way it is equipped.

It is also a very masculine machine. It just seems to appeal to some essence of maleness. There isn't anything frilly or solely decorative about it. That is not to say it isn't excessive, because it certainly is.

I have had it only one day, and I am looking forward to getting to know this car, and to allow it to get to know me. We are going to have quite a relationship!

I took our son to school in it this morning. My better half was with us and she noticed all the inconvenient points and all the little flaws at first, but I think that she was being won over by the end of the drive. Anyway, she says she won't drive it.

We'll see...


ToBlog today said...

Your bentley is exquisite but alas not my style. A bentley calls for being driven by someone else, so I will gladly be your passenger any day.

I remember the first car you let me drive of yours, it was a red hot little talon. Now, that was impressive and totally in keeping with my taste. :)

upnorthdowntown said...

When I am in Ottawa, I do expect to be chauffeured around! It is an imperfect car in many ways - but it is not the imperfections to be embraced, as I am sure more will reveal themselves over time, but rather the experience that is unique to the vehicle that is to be enjoyed. I think it is a little like taking a boutique cruise somewhere to the Arctic. While you cannot leave the boat - and no matter how nice, it still is not 'home' - at the same time it is takes you to places no other means of transport can take you. And there in lies the wonderment. Enjoy!~